At least 115 killed in strike in Nigeria:

Nigerian security forces used excessive force and killed more than 115 people in a military attack on separatist agitators in the restless southeastern part of the country, the international human rights organization said on Thursday.

Violence has flared up in Nigeria’s southeastern states this year, claiming the lives of at least 127 police officers or members of the security services, according to police. About twenty police stations and election commission offices have been attacked, according to local media.

The indigenous people of Biafra (IPOB), a movement seeking independence for ethnic Igbo in the region, and its militant wing Eastern Eastern Network (ESN) have been blamed for the violence, but the IPOB has denied the allegations.

Amnesty said in response, security forces, including the military, police and the Department of State Services (DSS) intelligence, have killed dozens of gunmen, as well as civilians, where attacks have taken place.

“The evidence gathered by Amnesty International provides a condemnatory view of the ruthless excessive force of Nigerian security forces in the Imo, Anambra and Abia states,” said Osai Ojigho, the group’s director in Nigeria.

The Global Rights Watch said it “documented at least 115 people killed by security forces between March and June 2021”.

The Nigerian police could not immediately respond to the allegations.

“I have not seen the statement. So I can not answer,” police spokesman Frank Mba told Agence France-Presse (AFP).

Amnesty said relatives of the victims told the rights group that they were not part of the militant groups that attacked security agents.

“Many of the victims were deposited in state hospitals in the state of Imo and Abia,” it said.

Amnesty said it also documented cases of arbitrary arrest, beatings and torture in the remaining region. It said that in May 2021, the Imo State Government announced the arrest of at least 400 people allegedly linked to the violence. “Amnesty International’s investigation indicates that most of them were picked up at random in their homes and off the street and had nothing to do with ESN,” it said.

Local and international rights groups have repeatedly accused Nigerian security forces of violating rights, but they always deny the allegations.

Nigeria has recently intensified attacks on separatist agitators, including the arrest and trial of its leaders.

Last month, IPOB leader and founder Nnamdi Kanu was arrested in Kenya, according to his lawyers, and taken back to Nigeria to face treason.

Kanus IPOB seeks to revive the now defunct Biafra Republic, a declaration of independence that led to a 30-month civil war between 1967 and 1970. More than 1 million people, mostly Igbo, were killed in the fighting or by famine and disease.

Another separatist leader, Sunday Adeyemo, also known as Sunday Igboho, was arrested in the Benin neighborhood as he tried to board a flight to Germany. He is currently in custody in Benin awaiting extradition.

Igboho is accused of calling for a separate homeland for the Yoruba people in southwestern Nigeria after alleged killings of locals by Fulani shepherds.

President Muhammadu Buhari, a Fulani, is accused by some critics of favoring his northern relatives in appointments and other economic opportunities in Nigeria, giving rise to ethnic tensions in other regions.

With a population of more than 210 million, Nigeria has more than 250 ethnic groups and is regularly shaken by ethnic tensions in different regions. The three largest groups are Hausa-Fulani in the north, Igbo in the southeast and Yoruba in the southwest.


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